South African wines are profoundly international


The earliest indigenous peoples who inhabited what is now South Africa – San and Khoikhoi, later Bantu – were hunters and gatherers. There were no wine grapes, there, then.

The Portuguese sailor Bartolomeu Dias was the first European to explore the coastline of South Africa in 1488, while attempting to discover a trade route to the Far East.

The Dutch East India Company brought in Dutch farmers to establish farms to supply their ships as well as to supply their burgeoning settlement. In 1652 the initial group of ‘free burghers’ as these farmers were known, arrived and began to move inland into the territory of the Khoikhoi.

It is unlikely that these early Dutch settlers deliberately planted Pinot Grigio. They may have brought Fromenteau from France or Szürkebarát from…

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